OTHER VOICES

Cameras in U.S. Supreme Court

Posted April 06, 2012, at 5:53 p.m.

We don’t often agree with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on issues, but he was spot on when he called for there to be cameras permitted in the hallowed chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court.

That would have made for must-see television as the high court took up the case of the controversial health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Grassley was one of the lucky few — about 250 in all — to have secured a seat to witness the sides argue the health care case before the nine justices. Fortunately, the court offered audio recordings of the proceedings on its website after each session.

It’s hard to imagine how including cameras to allow Americans to watch the court in action could impact the outcome of their decision. The court listens as attorneys for both sides of an issue plead their case, and the justices pepper those attorneys with questions.

An ongoing experiment provides cameras in 14 federal courtrooms this year for civil proceedings. The experiment was approved by the Judicial Conference, the policy-making entity for federal courts.

And it’s working.

Beyond the interest of adults, imagine the educational possibilities for students if provided access to the Supreme Court’s proceedings — not just the health care matter, but all issues that come before the court.

In this day and age, with the technology that’s available, it’s time for the judicial branch of government to stop being so skittish about cameras in courtrooms.

The Hawk Eye, Burlington (April 4)

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